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  1. Default Advice on road trip from NYC to Berea, Kentucky

    Hello everyone,

    There's so much good information, tips, advice and camaraderie in this forum that I had to ask for help myself. We are planning our first big road trip in the first week of August from New York City to Berea, Kentucky where we are dropping off our niece at college. Traveling with us along with our 18 year old niece will be our two kids ages 8 and 3.

    We have about a week to spare for the entire round trip. I would really appreciate if all you seasoned travelers could suggest an itinerary/route for us. We love the outdoors, National Parks, scenic roads, small towns, experiencing different kinds of cultures, seeing historical places.

    Philly, Hershey's and the Amish country in Pennsylvania are some of the places I have been keeping in mind. We'd like to skip the DC area as we traveled there recently. I'd love to get some suggestions about other points in between.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Other thoughts that crossed my mind: Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive (VA), and Mammoth Cave National Park in KY. With either of these, have the 2 younger ones sign up for the Junior Ranger program, and it will make it lots more fun for them. Philadelphia is also great, the Independence National Historic Park has a number of different Junior Ranger programs to offer. We spent a good 8 hours there, then trotted up the street to the downtown Macy's to hear the organ concert on the world's largest operating pipe organ before we headed back to Family in NJ.

    From NYC to Berea KY is about a 750 mile drive, which can be done in two days (375 mi per day). If you have to drive back in that week, you have three days to use (including any drop-off days) to sight-see.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Making the Most of It

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You have about three days for each leg, there and back. But of course you could split that four and two if that coincides better with the dates you need to be in Berea to drop off your niece. That leaves you plenty of time to wander off the straight and narrow and to take two completely different routes on the two legs. Again, the route taken to Berea should be the one that most interests your niece since she won't be taking the trip back with you.

    Given that you'll be more heavily loaded, and crowded, on the drive down and that your niece will be anxious to get to college, I'd suggest that you take a relatively direct route on the first leg and take only two days. This would be roughly I-78 to I-81 and the Hershey/Harrisburg area. You could either then continue on I-81 to Hagerstown and I-70 or take US-15 south out of Harrisburg to Gettysburg and visit the battlefield continuing to Thurmont and taking MD-77 through Catoctin Mountain National Park (home of Camp David) to MD-64 to Hagerstown. Shortly after getting on I-70 there's another worthwhile couple of stops at Big Pool MD: Fort Frederick State Park and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. At Hancock MD switch over to I-68 up the Potomac River and over the Alleghenies to Morgantown WV where I-79 will take you to Charleston and I-64. A short ways inside Kentucky is another great stopping point, Carter Caves State Resort Park and you might also want to check out some of the horse farms around Lexington before making the final run down to Berea on I-75. Now obviously you're not going to be able to do all that in just two days, but it gives you an idea of what's available.

    Assuming you take three or four days for the trip back, you can take a slightly longer way around. Basically, I'd suggest going across central West Virginia and Virginia to the Historic Triangle and then up the Delmarva Peninsula and Jersey shores, which should maximize the fun for the younger children. This would have you retracing your steps to Charleston WV and then staying on I-64 to US-60 through the New River Gorge and rejoining I-64 again to cross the Appalachians. You could then do a short segment of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Buena Vista to Waynesboro before rejoining I-64 (again!) to Charlottesville and Jefferson's Monticello. Then continue down through Richmond to the Historic Triangle (Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown) just outside Norfolk. There's also a Busch Gardens amusement park if that's too much history for the kids. Next up, cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel onto the Delmarva Peninsula and head up along the coast using US-13/US-113/DE-1 with possible stops at Chincoteague Island (a wildlife refuge for some special ponies), Assateague National Seashore (a truly wild bit of Atlantic coast), Wallops Island (a NASA launch facility with a small kid-friendly museum), and Bethany Beach DE (one of the 'Quiet Resorts' that caters to families). Next up would be a real treat for the kids, the Lewes-Cape May Ferry over to the southern tip of New Jersey and the Garden State Parkway with any number of beaches on the final push for home. Again, you won't have time for everything I've listed, but you will have time for much of it, and this should result in a truly memorable vacation for your kids.


  4. Default

    Thank you AZBuck for your wonderful detailed post with such great tips and suggestions. All of the above places you have mentioned are just the things that we are interested in. If only I could include them all! I will take all this into account and thanks to you, trip planning will be a bit easier. Husband just does the driving and I'm in charge of all the logistics so I want to make this enjoyable for all of us. It's going to be a big adventure. Thank you again.

  5. Default

    Thank you Donna for your input. I've read a little bit about the Junior Ranger programs - I'll definitely look into that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Creating memories.

    Another great way to create a memory / souvenir of the trip, is for each member to keep a journal. It does not have to be fancy or exhaustively long. All it takes is for 20 or 30 minutes each night for each, especially the younger ones, to recall their most impressive memory of that day. (This is besides the Junior Ranger program.)

    A journal can consist of text, photos, clippings from brochures, drawings, something picked up along the way... anything actually which will be a memory of that day. And even a three year old can keep a journal in a small book - though some may prefer a large page. My three year old grandson kept a journal on a family trip to Britain. Two memorable entries:- a circle with a stick figure drawn inside of it is his memory of the London Eye. The other, a photo of the campground where they stayed one night. It shows the front fence and name of the campground. But he will tell you clearly just what the swimming pool was like and how much fun they had, right behind that fence. (Now 4,he is at this moment keeping his journal of a trip to FL and MA. Can't wait to see it.)


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